Sustainable House Tour May 10th Northern Tasmania

A chance to talk to the owners of two very different sustainable homes, ask them the burning questions you might have about aspects of sustainability in a home and enjoy some great morning or afternoon tea.


Sustainable House Tours – The inside story.

Saturday May 10th

10.30-12.30 & 2.00-4.00

From the folks that brought Sustainable House Day to Northern Tasmania.


Come along and pick the brains of sustainable home owners about the nitty gritty of their experiences creating and living in a sustainable home.


  • Cost:  By donation. You pay what you think the session was worth.
  • Numbers:  Limited. This ensures that in depth information can be discussed
  • Session Length: 90 minute session at each home. Each home open in the morning and afternoon. You pick the session that suits you.
  • Afternoon/morning tea:  Yum. Will be available
  • Bookings:  Essential. Contact Lisa on 0427 283 403 or email annelisa(at) Details of locations provided when booking.
  • House locations:  In the Meander Valley


Two very different homes.

House 1:        Transformation of a 1940,s weatherboard house that optimises energy efficiency and minimises running costs.

85 Meander Valley rd westbury 2


  • Sharing (by blog) extensive research on all materials used for sustainability and availability.
  • Owner built studio extension (mega anchors, double glazing, sustainable flooring, hardwood framing, wool insulation, plastic/wood composite deck)
  • Grid connect solar. Energy efficient lighting
  • Heat pump hot water unit, water saving devices
  • Up-cycled and recycled materials
  • Natural paints and floor finishes
  • Retro fitted insulation (roof and walls) and draught proofing


House 2:        Maximum sustainability with minimum environmental footprint. Purpose designed passive solar house.


  • Passive solar design
  • Recycled materials
  • Stand alone solar power
  • Composting toilet
  • Permaculture garden with swales
  • Onsite greywater treatment system
  • water reticulation system for house and garden using dams, tanks and solar pumps
  • Owner built

Strippers !!!

Not what you might think though.  These strippers were environmentally friendly and were being tested on our exterior weatherboards to see which one worked the best before we bought large amounts to remove many layers of paint.

We trialled three different strippers.

  • Peel Away, a product that you layer on and then cover with a plastic sheeting. This is supposed to encasulate the paint.
  • Bio Stripper. Made by Bio Paints.
  • Soy Gel. Made in the USA based upon Soy Beans.

Peel Away trial product

peel away result

peel away result

Soy Gel result

Soy Gel result

Result of Bio Stripper

Result of Bio Stripper

The Soy Gel product showed the most promise, however it would take an awful lot of stripper to remove the six layers of paint that are on the 80 square meters of weatherboard and 40 square meters of window frames.
We had used methylated spirits ti see if the paint was acrylic or oil based and this test told us that the paint layers were acrylic. (if  you wipe a metho soaked rag on the paint and the colour comes off then it is probably acrylic paint) However this did not make sense as the house is from the early 1950’s and acrylic based exterior paints were not in common use back then. This was a niggle as if there was oil based enamel paint then it would likely be lead based. After more internet research we emailed and The Lead Group Inc  a website dedicated to eradicating lead poisoning.  I wanted to find out whether lead would have been present in acrylic paints. The answer was no but that some oil based paints can dissolve in methylated spirits and that we should purchase a lead test kit. Which we duly did from a paint retailer and tried it on  the deepest layer of paint and it showed up as lead based.
pink means lead is present !!

pink means lead is present !!

A Swedish Stripper from New Zealand !!


The stripper saga continues!


After trying various strippers I came across a different kind of stripper from Sweden.  A redhead in fact.

It is called a Speedheater and uses two infrared elements to heat up the paint. Invented in Sweden it is designed to not heat the paint enough to release the plumbic gas which is given off by lead based paints therefore much safer than heat guns or blowtorches.

speedheater in action

speedheater in action

Distributed by I-Strip from New Zealand it is not the cheapest tool in the world but it compares to the total price we would have to have paid for chemical strippers and we will have it to use again and again.

Heat it unti it bubbles
Heat it until it bubbles

I found quite a bit of information on US based websites singing its praises and there are lots of photo’s on the I-Strip website. It arrived today and first results are very promising. It heats an area in about 30 – 60 seconds which you then strip using their very good Swedish scraper. We bought a package that includes a slider sytem which you screw to the house and allows you to be heating an area whilst scraping the area that was previously heated.scrape it off